Featured image for "How To Keep Brass Jewelry From Tarnishing" blog post. Bronze jewelry.

How To Keep Brass Jewelry From Tarnishing

Remember back in high school when popular girls and boys always wore gold jewelry, and their friends wore silver? As cool as that was, wearing copper and brass was too. Copper and brass were not as popular since it was pricey to keep up. You have to know how to keep brass jewelry from tarnishing, and we are going to show you how. Before we get deeper into the tips to clean it, we want to explain what tarnish means.

Does brass tarnish? To tarnish is to lose luster. When it comes to metal, all it takes for it to tarnish is exposure to air and moisture. As we went deeper into this topic, we learned that tarnishing goes far beyond metal. It is occurring right before our eyes daily. It happens to the simple items that we see every day. Those simple items include our precious brass jewelry pieces. Handling them with care is the best thing to do.

Brass jewelry was popular in ancient times. It is known for providing many potentially healing benefits to those wearing it. It may have a positive effect on your internal body. It also has a positive impact on the outside. Brass may be one of the best metals to bring peacefulness by eliminating negative influences.

The brass jewelry that you see every day is composed of a blend of copper and zinc. The potential benefits of both of these elements are that they may help kill harmful microbes. They could also potentially help stimulate the flow of energy and create balance within the body.

To understand just how to properly care for a certain precious metal we must first find out what it is made of and what reactions it may have to different things. We must limit the item’s exposure to certain things in their environment. If you want to know how to keep brass jewelry from tarnishing you should remember that keeping it as dry as possible is key to preserving it. You might like to see a nice dark patina form on the surface of an antique vase but not on your favorite necklace.

What exactly is brass?

Brass is a zinc and copper alloy with an attractive shiny luster. It is a metal that is often used in different proportions for many purposes in mechanical and electrical settings. It can also be engraved and used for fancy decoration and jewelry. It has been used for many centuries by many different people to make unique and beautiful things. Brass has to be heated to more than 900 degrees to melt.

Brass is a very attractive material and it can be used to make wonderful home decor. Brass is resistant to corrosion so it will last. It’s very shiny just like gold. Bronze is a different blend and is simply more expensive than brass because that blend contains more copper. Brass can last one thousand years if you use an effective technique to prevent damage to the item and eliminate any tarnishing. Brass that is left untouched will begin to corrode and then it will develop a layer of tarnish over time. It will never rust. Brass does not rust but it will get a pearly cloudy look if it is not cared for efficiently.

You might not be sure what something is really made of. If you make a scratch on a hidden area of a piece of brass you should be able to see a tiny yellow scratch if the item is truly made of brass. If you reveal a silver color in the scratch then the material is probably a white metal, primarily zinc. If a magnet is attracted to the object then it’s not solid brass although it could be plated. Brass is a hard yet workable material. Aluminum brass alloys are a very strong blend and they resist corrosion well.

Calamine brass is one of the earliest forms of brass. In ancient Rome, it was used to make lots of things including ornate jewelry. In Europe, it was often used for engraved nameplates in the cemeteries. Over history, brass has been used to make candle holders and special items like chandeliers and platters. It can be a pretty and durable option when you’re looking for different options while you’re decorating.

Brass necklaces.
Brass is a copper and zinc alloy with a bright shine.

Why choose brass?

Brass jewelry looks like it’s gold but is very durable and much more affordable. It can last many, many years if you care for it properly. Brass is a shiny and beautiful material. Keeping all of your brass jewelry as dry as possible will prevent that green film from forming on the skin. If you see a dark green area start to form where your brass ring rests on your finger it’s caused by the oxidation. It’s simply a copper carbonate residue that is left on the skin.

Coating all of your brass jewelry with a little lacquer after you polish it will protect it from becoming tarnished. This protects the items at least until it wears off. It can keep your things shinier longer in between polishes. All metals can oxidize even from simple air exposure. Brass jewelry can easily develop a blackish tarnish but some clear sealer paint or jewelry protectant can help stop that. It won’t be as tedious to keep dry knowing that it has been sealed.

Brass accessories can often brighten your look. If you can, you should avoid storing your jewelry in humid areas like in the bathroom. Moisture is the ultimate enemy when it comes to brass. Keep your jewelry wiped dry and in a dry spot. Maybe keep it near some warm windows. Storing brass jewelry wrapped up in a soft cloth sealed inside a plastic bag is the best way to preserve its shine and quality.

Polishing your brass often just makes it look better. It gives it that classic, clean look that completes the style you’re looking for. No one likes to see dull candlesticks at the Christmas dinner table. You want that old brass heirloom pot and candleholders to sparkle and gleam just like your necklace does. They will look great neatly polished next to all of the cutlery and your pretty china collection on the kitchen table. You can restore your jewelry’s shine with a Champion Silver Polish Cloth.

Brass earrings.
Brass is a strong and affordable alternative to gold.

How do I keep it shining?

Using an abrasive to polish a surface is a little aggressive. It actually takes a layer off of the surface of the object. It can make your brass have a bit of a dull look to it compared to buff and shine. A fine grit will be able to rub off any pits or lines or scratches in the jewelry.

A polishing cloth will help you keep your brass clean and shiny and protect it better. It can get expensive to drop off items to be polished by a professional. If you want to you can make it a DIY project and you could just do it yourself. You should always be extra careful with cleaning and polishing your own things and be sure all stones stay in place, etc.

If you have a piece of jewelry that has bad spots and stains or is very tarnished you may have tried soaking it or using a home solution to clean it. There are many tricks and tips out there for thoroughly cleaning your jewelry.  You may be swishing your bracelets around with a pair of tongs in a container of stuff you mixed already. A teaspoon of salt mixed with a half cup of vinegar is supposed to be a good quick soak to help remove tarnish.

Toothpaste or a baking soda and vinegar paste brushed onto brass with an old toothbrush and let sit for about ten minutes is also said to help get crevices cleaner. Wash off the residue from the paste with some water in the sink and rub the pieces completely dry.

Use your polishing cloth to give the pieces a scrub and remove any remaining tarnish and give the brass a final shine. Repeat polishing until it shines like glass. Ketchup and lemon juice also contain acids that are said to clean tarnish off of brass.

Circular brass earrings.
With the right polishing tools, you can ensure that your brass items stay shiny!

How can I keep tarnish away?

Not allowing the tarnish to settle in is the best way to keep your brass looking great. Keep all brass jewelry away from liquids and moisture. Don’t take a shower or bath with your jewelry on. Soap and water from hand washing should be rinsed off quickly and then just dry the piece as well as you can.

Chemicals can really damage your jewelry. If you notice your jewelry starting to wear you should treat it more carefully and try not to wear the piece as often. Oils from our own skin can cause items to wear down and tarnish as well.

Don’t let your brass get wet. Perfume and lotion, handwashing, and sweating can all be tools of destruction when it comes to your jewelry. The moisture in the air even causes the metal to oxidize. If your jewelry does get wet dry it thoroughly as soon as possible.

Humid air in the bedroom where you store your jewelry may be causing it to tarnish faster. Velvet pouches are great for storing your jewelry but sealed household bags will keep out all of the air. Just be sure to squeeze out all of the excess air when you’re sealing the bag and tuck it in your drawer. There it will be safe from sunlight and air exposure.

Using a dehumidifier for damp areas can help keep the moisture levels down also. Damp conditions can really tarnish brass jewelry quickly. Sulfur in the air does have an effect on even sterling silverware. My ancient set of antique spoons had a deep discoloration before I cleaned and polished them.

Regular maintenance done when you’re cleaning and protecting the metal will prevent oxidation. We have an antique brass bowl, a plate, and some cups in our cabinet. When we clean them we use a circular motion and shine them right up with our Champion Polishing Cloth. It makes it easy to wipe away the dust and we always notice an improvement in the shine.

Brass bracelet.
Brass can get tarnished if it isn’t cared for. By polishing your brass frequently, you can keep tarnishing away.

How to Keep Brass Jewelry from Tarnishing

The answer to keeping your jewelry in great shape is simple.. clean and polish your brass often so you can remove the layer of tarnish. From your shiny bracelet to old plaques in the office, you should make sure that cleaning the tarnish off of any of your brass pieces is part of your usual housekeeping routine.

Instead of the popular cheap little plastic or rubber name tags, we found some very nice brass ones for our pets. We turned them into a crafts project and made them personal. They turned out beautiful and they will last forever. We engraved them by hand.

We heard a story once from a friend about how tarnished some brass items can become if not cared for properly. They were cooking breakfast one morning and having their coffee when they realized how tarnished their faucets had become. They had left a brass bracelet hanging around one of the faucet handles and it left an awful green residue. They love organization but they have a bad habit of always hanging jewelry off of something that’s handy. They let them get exposed to a ton of moisture and the jewelry began to oxidize. That’s a really bad place to leave any jewelry.

They had a hard time deciding what was best to polish the jewelry and other brass with before they found the Champion Polishing Cloth. It’s great to use on stainless steel appliances like the stove.

It is so gentle and it leaves the door and cabinet hardware sparkling. There is some incredible brass inlay on our den flooring and some on a few pieces of the furniture. We covered it all with canvas cloths to protect it from the dust when we were remodeling but when we were finished we polished it all and it looks great again.

Brass earrings and necklace.
Frequently polishing your brass jewelry is key to maintaining its shiny appearance.

How should I polish?

Rub off that grime and enjoy the shine. Wear your fancy brass jewelry and keep it looking fantastic. It’s really easy to take care of once you know the tricks. You can make dirty brass look brand new again. Tarnish is on the surface. What’s beneath is still shiny brass. Polishing keeps it shiny and prevents stains. It will remove that dark coating that makes the piece look worn and dull.

When your favorite pair of brass earrings are looking faded you should get out the polishing cloth and start to rub. Champion Silver Polish Cloth is awesome. It’s the best polishing cloth and it works on just about anything. Air and moisture are always working on pieces and forming tarnish. Just polish it off.

If you used to think getting brass polished back to gleaming was impossible, then you’re in the right place. If you’ve always wondered how to keep brass jewelry from tarnishing, then we have the answer for you. That answer is the Champion Polishing Cloth! They are full of amazing polishers. They should never be washed. Polishing cloths are meant to be used over and over again. Even though your cloth will start to look dirty and dark they will still remove the tarnish.

As long as a polish cloth is still doing its job and shining up the jewelry it can still be used no matter how it looks. The polishers are deep in the cloth. Once the cloth no longer produces a shine it needs to be replaced. They just turn black from all of the dark tarnish they remove. The protectants in the cloth definitely help protect your jewelry from becoming dull.

Brass plant pots.
With a high-quality polishing cloth, all of your precious brass items can be looking good as new!

Oxidation

How does brass jewelry get tarnished?

Tarnishing is a chemical process your jewelry undergoes once it gets exposed to air. Everything goes through this stage, but we’re talking about brass here. Brass rusts over time. For instance, swimmers wearing brass jewelry do not often see the effects when they go into the water. With the sensitivity of brass, though, tarnishing won’t take long to see.

Your jewelry has a layer that prevents tarnishing. Over time, that layer disappears. That is how it gets tarnished. It needs to be cleaned and recoated. To the naked eye that knows nothing about brass, the effects will go unnoticed. In this article, we will show you four steps that can be implemented on a daily basis when it comes to brass.

Polishing cloth here comes the shine!

Household polishing items

  • Vinegar and salt
  • Lemon Juice and Salt
  • Ketchup or tomato paste
  • Toothpaste
  • Yogurt
  • Baking Soda

These methods are often included in guides about cleaning jewelry properly. They are safe but not as useful in this particular cleaning process as a polishing cloth such as the Champion Polishing Cloth.

Polishing Cloth perfectly polish anything.

1.Clean it Daily

When you clean windows, you want them as shiny as possible, right? So you use the right chemicals to make it that way. The same goes when you take your car to the car wash to be waxed. The cloth they use has chemicals that give it a shine and a protective coating. You need reliable materials to help it get that way.

Let’s say that you do that every Saturday. That method is more extensive when it comes to brass. You have to apply this every week. If you are active while wearing your brass jewelry daily, you may want to do it every day. In this tip, we will reveal the difference between a lubricated cloth and an un-lubricated one.

Pair of wedding rings.
Need to shine up on your beloved wedding ring? You need the Champion Polishing Cloth!

The Lubricated Cloth

We have a lubricated cloth for brass available on our website, the Champion Polishing Cloth. It is excellent for cleaning copper and brass.

Typical household rags could be all that you need. Get it, wash it, dry it, and use it. It’s a simple task but buying one like the Champion Polishing Cloth makes things a lot easier. You want an excellent cloth because it will help you with shining your jewelry. Using such a high-performance polishing cloth will help to extend the endurance of your jewelry, so it makes a worthwhile purchase.

The Un-lubricated Cloth

Common microfiber cloths also work, but we recommend lubricated ones such as the Champion Polishing Cloth. A solution of household items like vinegar, salt, and flour could make an effective lubricant. Combine them to make a paste to clean your brass. Rub it into the brass, let it sit about 10 minutes, rinse it, then buff and dry.

The cloth is what you make it to be. When it comes to cleaning brass, you must be creative. There is a way to do it right, even when you don’t have the proper tools. We are delighted to present this to you. Stay tuned to read the next tips.

2. Daily Cleaning Keeps Brass from Tarnishing

Doing this takes excellent effort, but it is worth it. Start doing it with warm soap and water. Collect all of the pieces that you want to clean. If it is small pieces, lay them in the water and soap. Let them sit for a while before taking them out and drying them.

At Champion Supplies, we encourage this. Many wait until special occasions to clean their jewelry, thinking that their everyday lotions or soaps do not cause tarnishing. It’s not much, but it does. Don’t make that same mistake. Clean it all the time to make sure that it stays looking its best.

Champion Premium Blue.
Champion Premium Blue

Easier Said Than Done

Keeping brass from tarnishing is easier said than done. Research has proven that it is automatic. Once the oxygen of the air hits the brass, tarnishing is sure to come. The best thing you could do with brass is to be very cautious. Cleaning brass is a lot of labor when using common household items.

With the Champion Polishing Cloth, cleaning brass items no longer is a long and difficult process. All of the polishing agents that are required are already imbued within the cloth. Simply apply pressure to the desired area that needs polishing, buff, and voila! All finished!

Pocket watch.
A high-performance polishing cloth can go a long way in restoring the luster to your favorite brass and copper pieces.

Coat It

The right word for coating is lacquering. Once you polish it, coat it with a layer of clear sealer. The brass that you have came with a coat. Over time, it will wear out.

Despite the great benefits, this has proven to alter the appearance of brass. You cannot apply lacquer to many ancient artifacts because of this. Coating such objects involve extreme caution. It is difficult using it. There is also difficultly when you try to remove it.

Polishing cloth, clean, shine, protect.

3. It’s Time For Ketchup

No, your brass is not food. Research shows that this is very effective when cleaning brass. The mild acid is very beneficial when it comes to cleaning. It removes tarnish and dirt. Ketchup brings these old, tarnished products back into shape. The acid in ketchup has been known to be vital in cleaning jewels for years.

Bread with ketchup.
Didn’t think ketchup could remove the tarnish from your copper and brass jewelry? Think again!

Small Jewelry

Examples of this type of jewelry will be chains and earrings. You will need a small bowl and a small brush. Fill the bowl with your jewelry. Engulf the tarnished jewels with just enough ketchup. After that, just sit back and wait.

The amount of time to let it sit may vary. It depends on the condition of the tarnished jewelry. After waiting, remove the jewels and run them under warm water. Use that brush to reach tough-to-reach areas. In the end, it will be like new.

Large Jewelry

The method is a little bit more aggressive. You have to use the brush more for this. Dip the brush in the ketchup and work it around the brass. Of course, the brass must sit for a while. After it’s out of the ketchup, it’s rinsed with warm water. The difference after this is overwhelming.

A reliable brush is vital for them both, and patience is too. If the jewels do not come out the way you want, you could simply repeat the process.

4. Create A Protective Layer

Brass will tarnish without protection. So why not clean it and enjoy the beauty forever? Sealing is the easiest part of this process. It is just time-consuming. In a museum, periodic maintenance is necessary. If that’s what a museum does, what do you think needs to be done for your everyday jewels?

Once your brass is clean and polished, what’s left behind must be eliminated. To remove it, you must find out what you need. You can utilize everyday household products to get the job done. Normally, olive oil or coconut oil is used. These oils not only help remove tarnish, but they create a protective layer.

Clean copper and brass jewelry on a table.
Clean copper and brass jewelry.

Olive Oil

Olive oil isn’t just used to cook. Many things in this world require it, and brass is one. Rub a few drops onto the jewels with a piece of microfiber cloth. Remove the excess oil with a dry cloth. In the end, the results should be a more clean, spotless, and shinier surface. You will love the appearance after it’s finished.

Despite the results, this oil will not be abrasive once it is in contact with other skin oils. The right olive oil is vital here. There are numerous brands in stores, but they are not all pure. Olive oil is also used to clean garden tools, silence squeaky door hinges, and prevent razors from rusting. All of these items have brass in them.

Coconut Oil

In numerous areas, this is productive around the house. This oil is in high demand within homes right now. It can handle tough jobs like greasing. It is also known for creating a protective layer for brass jewelry.

What it does is quite similar to olive oil. The only difference between the two is safety for the brass. Research has proven it to be a more safe option to use on brass. This oil is not a liquid, and it dissolves pretty quickly when you apply it to brass.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it, beautiful, shiny brass jewelry at last! Does brass tarnish? Yes, but as you can see, there are many effective ways to clean brass and remove that tarnish that inevitably forms on it over time.

While you can definitely make use of numerous household items to clean your brass, by far the easiest method is to use a polishing cloth such as the Champion Polishing Cloth.

With a cloth like this, all the polishing agents you need are already included in the cloth and the cloth can be used to not only polish your brass items but all other surfaces that you need to polish as well!

Polishing cloth small cloth, huge results.

With this small cloth that produces massive polishing results, you’ll inevitably not only save countless hours but also tons of money as well. The days of spending hours and hours polishing away tarnish will be gone, and there’s no need to buy polishing agents ever again since one cloth equals 1 gallon of metal polish!

Hopefully, this blog post has been useful in figuring out how to keep brass jewelry from tarnishing. Happy polishing!

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4 thoughts on “How To Keep Brass Jewelry From Tarnishing”

  1. Will coating it in an oil such as olive or coconut be a solution that works for a few days? Or will it be a more long term solution? Im wanting to make my own ring from a piece of brass, but I want to know that I can keep it shiny and reflective. Its not going to be worn every day, if at all, just something to have. I have a buffing compound and a buffing wheel, so should that be enough to keep it untarnished? Or should I also coat it in a protective layer of some kind? So many questions! Thanks!

    1. Avatar of Champion Supplies
      Champion Supplies

      Hi Owen! The various ideas that you mentioned may work. With that said, you may want to consider our Champion Polishing Cloth. We have many customers along both East and West coasts that have repeatedly told us that since using our polishing cloth, they’ve noticed that whatever they’re cleaning stays tarnish-free far, far longer than anything they’ve used before. Understand that along the coastal areas, there is a lot of salt in the air, which is highly corrosive and causes tarnishing very quickly. We’ve had fantastic results coming from boat owners that need to clean their brass items on the boat and they consistently rave about how effective the Champion Polishing Cloth is at removing tarnish, but critically they say that the shine remains for a very long time. Our cloth leaves behind an invisible protective coating that hinders any tarnishing. This is a product that has been around since 1929. It is non-toxic and delivers the kind of time-tested, old-fashioned performance that simply is hard to find today. Still, any of your DIY solutions may help in diminishing tarnishing.

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